Canadian woman's 20-hour trip to chase NRL dream
Anyone questioning the commitment of female athletes chasing their NRL dreams need to look no further than Canada's Mackenzie Fane.
Fane represented the Ravens at last year's World Cup and following a successful experience decided to pack her bags and undergo the 20-hour trip from Ontario to Queensland for the chance to play in the upcoming women's NRL premiership this season.
It was a year ago the 25-year-old was chasing help by setting up a GoFundMe page to travel to Australia for the World Cup tournament, where the Ravens managed to notch their first win in the history of the women's game.
Now she's in the mood to make it a long-term stay, residing in Brisbane with no return flight home yet in sight and looking towards furthering her career in landscaping construction.
"It's difficult for a lot of the girls in Canada to keep at this over here in Australia but I was fortunate that I dropped out of college, I shouldn't laugh about that, but our colleges have gone on strike and I can have a go at this," Fane told NRL.com.
"I'd given the move thought for a while and didn't have a whole lot going on at home that I couldn't walk away from so just thought why not.
"There is such a surge for women's rugby league in Australia this past year that I figured there is no time like the present to try."
Despite less than 10 games of rugby league experience in a rugby union-dominated career, Fane is eyeing off a professional contract with one of the four inaugural NRL clubs.
She has joined Queensland club side the Easts Tigers alongside Jillaroos pair Vanessa Foliaki and Karina Brown during her first month in Australia, scoring a try with her first touch.
Although she admitted to being comfortable in the 15-player code, Fane found her game more suited with rugby league rules following the World Cup in November.
"All the things I got yelled at for doing in union was now suddenly praised in league, so that worked out," Fane said.
"Being able to give it to a forward to smash it up the middle, hit a little higher and slow the ruck down. I used to get in trouble for those things so it's been nice.
"Easts have been integral to me settling in, the girls have been welcoming. I didn't expect anything to be honest but they've gone above and beyond with that.
"The coaches are helpful and looking at footage of Ravens games to get an idea of where they'll play me and how my style would suit."
Fane will trial at the women's Talent ID on Thursday in a bid to test her skills and put herself out there towards potential NRL scouts.
"I don't know if I could describe my methods to anyone else but I've been doing fitness and strength sessions with the team but other than that I don't think too much about the trial," she said.
"I'll treat it like a game, I don't want it to get too much in my head."